Do family dinners at your house turn into food fights? ©duchesssa/stock.xchng
Here’s a scenario you’re probably familiar with. You spend some time (be it hours or even just 30 minutes) making a meal for your family. You’ve thought it out, done some prep and then of course, the actual cooking. And when your work is done, you are pretty pleased with the results. Everything looks good and tastes good — you are feeling pretty satisfied with yourself. And then you put your efforts out on the table for all to enjoy, and what do you get for your trouble?
“I don’t like that!”
“Can I have something else instead?”
“That looks disgusting!”
And it’s not like you are asking your little ones to eat escargot or Rocky Mountain Oysters. Maybe you made chicken nuggets from scratch instead of tearing open a package, or you dared to serve up some meatloaf and noodles instead of the standard cheeseburgers and French fries. Still, despite your pleas to the contrary, your kids either won’t eat it or there they sit, sullenly at their seat, pushing around their peas and carrots, your threats of “no dessert until you clean your plate!” not doing anything.
At least your spouse appreciates your attempts to channel your inner Julia Child. And at least you like what you’ve made.
Here we each share our top three dishes that are popular with the grownups in the house, but not so much with the people under 12. Feel free to make them in your own home so your kids can not eat them too! And then be sure to add to our list — stop by our Facebook page or send us a Tweet.
Tomato sauce: I’m not Italian, but I make a pretty good red sauce, if I must say so myself. It’s not too heavy, not too acidic — just a nice, basic sauce. Sometimes I’ll throw in some homemade meatballs or chopped up sausage or even pour it on top of some chicken parm. Really though, it doesn’t matter what I serve my sauce with, as long as pasta is on the table too. Because that’s all my kids will eat. Pasta with butter and cheese.
Lemon chicken: This is one of my and my husband’s favorite dishes. It’s not too tart but it has a nice flavor. It’s a dish that needs a lot of attention in the beginning but then you just let it sit and cook in the sauce for 20 minutes while you get other things ready (I like to serve this one with rice or elbow macaronis and carrots). My kids won’t go near it.
Chicken with ham and cheese: If I’m being fancy I’ll call it Chicken Cordon Bleu, but let’s face it. I dredge some chicken that’s rolled up with ham and swiss cheese through beaten eggs and bread crumbs and bake it in the oven for a little while. Still, it’s good and tasty (I even make a little brown gravy for the side) and still, my kids won’t eat it.
Anything with melted cheese: Think cheeseburgers, chicken parmigiana, grilled cheese, even pizza — all the old stand-bys when there’s no time for meal planning. But in our house, if it has melted cheese, it’s gross — at least according to my two children. I’m still having trouble figuring out where they came from, because cheese is my friend. I will melt it on anything and call it a meal. Before they were born, my husband and I would wile away an hour or two every Saturday at our local cheese shop. These days we’re lucky if we can order a pizza pie without everyone demanding their own slice of choice. Funny thing is that my little one eats feta cheese (not melted) out of a bowl for breakfast sometimes. Now that’s gross.
Lasagna: One of my favorite meals is (was) a good homemade lasagna. Crispy on the edges, layered with just the right amount of sauce and meat, mixed with ricotta cheese. And therein lies the problem. Yet another cheese product that my children despise. They won’t eat the fresh-stuffed manicotti that my father-in-law makes on holidays, nor will they touch a ravioli — Mickey Mouse-shaped or otherwise. And because it makes no sense to make a whole tray of lasagna for just me and my husband, I haven’t had it in a really long time. Have I mentioned we’re Italian? How embarrassing.
Catch of the Day: We’re a fishing family, and our rule is that if you catch it, you eat it. And since fish is so expensive at the seafood shop, we consider ourselves lucky to be able to grill some fresh caught fluke at the end of a summer day. My husband and I at least. We’re past the age with the kids where we can pass it off as chicken. And though they will nibble, not even frying it in a beer batter can entice them to actually finish a piece. Oh well, more for me I guess.
What about you? What meal do you love to cook or eat that your kids just despise? Do you make them eat it anyway?